Ehenside School


Ehenside School opened on 20th October 1958. The school was named after the River Ehen, and was built on ground that had been used by residents as allotments. The secondary school gave education to 513 boys and girls. The first headmaster was Mr P. Eyre.

The school closed fifty years later, in 2008, when pupils transferred to the new West Lakes Academy in nearby Egremont. The old school was demolished at a cost of £160,000.

In 1959, following the year that the school opened, an annual report on the School Health Service was published published by W. H. P. Minto, the Principal School Medical Officer for the Cumberland County Council. The report said:
Teachers in the county had played in securing the registration of so many children for vaccination against poliomyelitis. Thanks to their continued efforts and those of the staff, both professional and lay, of the school health department, by the end of 1958, over 80% of all Cumbrian school children had been registered, and 97% of these had received two or more doses of poliomyelitis vaccine. 
Schools had a responsibility to look after the health of children following the war years. Ehenside was no different, offering up to 350 cooked meals a day. 62% of children took a school meal.

The school offered:
  • Dental service - each Wednesday - all day. 
  • Medical service - each Monday and Thursday.
  • Orthopaedic Aftercare - 2nd and 4th Tuesdays.
  • Speech Therapy - each Friday morning.
Former Headmaster Tony Naylor describes his time at the school (1982-1995):
I'm not even going to try to list the memories I have of staff and pupils - in fact I still dream about the school occasionally (that can't be very healthy!) and still think frequently of both happy and sad times.  
I shivered with cold for the first months of my time at Ehenside. The heating system was notoriously inefficient when I arrived in Cumbria from the soft South in January 1982 - that year the tarns and lakes froze, but the youngsters of Ehenside didn't need coats to keep out the rain or cold! Whatever mixture of Cumbrian weather slanted across that playground seemed to make little difference.  
It was bad weather that led to the school's worst possible event - the death of Kerry Hall. She was tragically drowned simply trying to wash her boots in the river after a charity walk. Sadly the beck was in a spate and I still relive that frightening event every time I see the power of fast-moving water. What a tragedy for the parents, family and all of us at school.  
Thankfully, I enjoyed so many happy times too. There are great memories of pupils' successes, both academic and sporting: the school was lucky to have some extremely talented pupils. I had some terrific visits to different fixtures, also to Twickenham, and soon after arriving at Ehenside - I remember going on a Duke of Edinburgh walk over a foggy Blencathra (which nearly finished me off on my first time up a mountain). The two Cumbria Cruises I also experienced provided a marvellous opportunity for Ehensiders to see some of the most wonderful sights in the world. 
A great highlight was the 'Save our School' campaign. Such was the whole-hearted support from the community that victory became inevitable. Carrying the school banner on the Cumbria Run made the news but it was the strength of support form parents and community that won the day.  
Most of all, however, I thought the school was fortunate to have such a high proportion of dedicated staff who gave the best part of their careers to the school. Governors and a small, but so loyal, band of PTA members also gave unstinting service. There was plenty of hard work, many evenings as well as days at Ehenside but we had great fun - at least I did and I would like to thank everyone for my happy and fulfilling time there.
  • Plans were afoot in 2007 to regenerate the site of the former school, with the building of an extreme sports centre. It was believed that such a facility would create 200 jobs and bring investment into the town.
  • Plans for the £20 million centre were scrapped in 2016.

Ehenside School, October 1958, Cleator MoorEhenside School Song:

Our school looks upon a hill
Not far away a stream does glide
Beneath a bridge and on, until
At Sellafield it meets the tide.

This river, bridged with double span,
This hill, upon in days of old
The druids, priests of pagan man
Did rites and ceremonies hold.

Oh Ehenside it is with pride
in work and sport we'll play our part
we will press on with mind and heart
towards a richer fuller tide.

They each in our school badge have place
Symbols of strength, serene and fair
Hold fast - our motto, may it grace
The aims of those who do it wear.


The Druid's hill, whose name is Dent
Has witnessed scenes of Border war
When Robert Bruce his army sent
To burn and plunder Cleator.

The little rill from Ennerdale
That runs at last to ocean wide
May help to inspire us to prevail
Since it has named us Ehenside.


Top Photo: Ehenside School, October 1958

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Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Ehenside School
Ehenside School
Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria
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